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Dead Wood

Directed by Directed by David Bryant, Sebastian Smith, Richard Stiles

Written by Written by David Bryant, Sebastian Smith, Richard Stiles

Starring Starring Fergus March, Emily Juniper, John Samuel Worsey, Rebecca Craven

Produced by Produced by David Bryant, Sebastian Smith, Richard Stiles

Rated R

86 min

***

I had my doubts about this one going in. I’ve always been leery of movies that require more than one director and more than two writers. But this one was looking to prove me wrong from the start.

When four friends, including one couple and another duo whom the couple hopes will BECOME a couple, go out to the woods for a weekend of camping and fun in the woods, they discover that they’re not the only ones out there. But what else is out there isn’t human…and it’s not happy to have visitors.

I’ll say this up front for Dead Wood—there’s nothing really WRONG with it. The plot is nicely set up and moves at a fairly rapid pace, there’s plenty of nicely done suspenseful moments and even a few interesting scares. The characters are at least fairly interesting, and by the time you figure out what’s going on in that woods, you’re actually going to be pretty surprised.

In fact, this is one of those movies where it’s actually rather difficult to write anything in particular about it. There’s nothing terribly wrong about it to mock openly, but it’s not really so great as to be really effusive about it, either. It will hold your attention for eighty minutes without insulting you in any way, it’s fairly original, and it just does the job. The effects aren’t anything spectacular, but neither are they meant to be. The music’s fine, the plot is all right, the visuals are thoroughly unremarkable, this is a movie that all but epitomizes sterile mediocrity.

How Slasherpool could wax so grandiloquent about this one baffles me. “Sure to scare the hell out of you”…right…and I’m the Queen of France.

The ending is a little on the weak side, trying for a surprise but instead getting a little bit of nonsense. Frankly, I was a little lost. But this doesn’t really distract from the rest of the movie because it doesn’t kick in until the very end.

The special features include commentary tracks, deleted scenes, an alternate opening, an alternate ending, a blooper reel, audio options, display options, English and Spanish subtitles and a collection of trailers.

All in all, Dead Wood is aggressively not bad, and will be worth your time to watch, though if you’ve got movies you really want to see, there’s no reason to bump this one up ahead of any of them.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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